Oxygen crisis hits Delhi govt’s largest Covid hospital

Grant Boone
April 25, 2021

The US, which has reported more deaths from coronavirus than any other country, said it was deeply concerned about the surge in India.

India has confirmed 16 million cases so far, second only to the United States in a country of almost 1.4 billion people.

The department said the government continues to work with the Indian government to identify further assistance it can provide in the coming days, describing it as the latest example of UK-India collaboration during the course of the pandemic.

In central Bhopal city, some crematoria have increased their capacity from dozens of pyres to more than 50, but officials said there are still long waits.

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"We can not let our guard down", Italy's Health Minister Roberto Speranza said, as national Covid-19 restrictions were beginning to ease on Monday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that as a gesture of solidarity with the people of India, Pakistan has offered to provide relief support including ventilators, oxygen supply kits, digital X-ray machines, PPEs and and related items.

The largest Covid facility in Delhi has started to run out of oxygen on Sunday morning as healthcare facilities across the national capital battle shortages for the sixth day in a row.

"I fear we will run out of space very soon", said Mohammad Shameem.

Hospitals across the city - government and private - have been facing an acute shortage of liquid oxygen as demand is high and supply has been hampered, sometimes because of a tussle between state governments and sometimes because of lack of cryogenic tankers.

"There is desperation among people all around".

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She also says there are 279 new cases in Ottawa and 200 in Durham Region. Ford also promised a paid sick-leave program.

The crisis is in direct contrast with government claims that "nobody in the country was left without oxygen" in a statement made at Delhi High Court yesterday by India's Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta.

Currently, there are 25,52,940 active cases of COVID-19 in the country.

The government has deployed military planes and trains to get oxygen from the far corners of the country to Delhi.

Last year, India kept its hospitals sufficiently stocked by diverting oxygen from industries that were shuttered by one of the world's strictest virus lockdowns.

Dr Krutika Kuppalli, assistant professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at the Medical University of SC, said the Indian government has been "very reactive to this situation rather than being proactive".

The FCDO said the equipment on its way to India will be crucial in helping to save the lives of many vulnerable people.

Other countries are looking to assist the country as it struggles with this second and more deadly wave.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing mounting criticism for allowing Hindu festivals and attending mammoth election rallies that experts suspect accelerated the spread of infections.

World Health Organization emergencies director Mike Ryan said reducing transmission in India would be a "very hard task" but the government was working on limiting mixing between people, which he said was essential. The targeted posts include tweets from opposition ministers critical of Modi, journalists and ordinary Indians.

A Twitter spokesman said it has powers to "withhold access to the content in India only" if the company determines the content to be "illegal in a particular jurisdiction".

Paul did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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